VOYAGER — V

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VOYAGER - V cover
3.94 | 4 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2014

Filed under Progressive Metal
By VOYAGER

Tracklist

1. Hyperventilating (4:41)
2. Breaking Down (4:36)
3. A Beautiful Mistake (5:02)
4. Fortune Favours The Blind (1:02)
5. You, The Shallow (4:33)
6. Embrace The Limitless (3:06)
7. Orpheus (4:19)
8. The Domination Game (4:30)
9. Peacekeeper (4:47)
10. It's A Wonder (5:11)
11. Morning Light (5:58)
12. Summer Always Comes Again (2:21)
13. Seasons Of Age (4:40)

Total Time 54:46

Line-up/Musicians

- Daniel "Nephil" Estrin / Vocals, Keyboards
- Scott Kay / Guitars
- Alex Canion / Bass, Vocals
- Simone Dow / Guitars
- Mark Boeijen / Drums

with
- Daniel Tompkins / Vocals (Track 2)
- Zemyna Kuliukas / Vocals (Track 3)

About this release

Released June 27, 2014, on IAV Records.

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and DippoMagoo, diamondblack for the updates

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VOYAGER V reviews

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Members reviews

Dougie
Five - 5 - Fünf - Fem - Cinque - Whatever your language is - this is the number of hours I listened to this album for straight upon first receiving my promo. I can in no way hide that I am a humungous fanboy of the Western Australian wonder that is 'Voyager'; a band that dominates the live stage every bit as much as their spectacular albums of melodious, rich, and energetic music. I first had the pleasure of hearing about Voyager on their 'I am the reVolution' tour after friends made the short trek up to the central coast to a little dingy music venue in Wyong on the NSW Central Coast. I was blown away by the sheer triumphant force of the band as well as the great mixture of synthetised backdrops against groovy and boppy metallic guitars which form a syrup, if you will, of New Wave meets Pop twixt Metal. My love affair with this peculiar yet homogenous sound and great bunch of guys and girl has been waiting with bated breathed on this release. After placing their last album in one of my top records for 2011 in combination with it having some of the best production I have ever heard in metal and all genres alike - this release had Krusty the Clown sized shoes to fill to even match the last release, and to exceed it overall would be borderline impossible. It's not often that I get the inpiration to write such an in-depth and brutally honest review but I feel it would be daft of me to skim it but on the surface.

Hyperventilating The trance fused synthetised fury of frontman Daniel Estrin immediately tell me to hold onto my arse for a proceeding riff, I could feel the promise of djenty sackrattling from the get go. Holy hell - this is killer. The secondary nature of the guitars that support Voyager's popular songwriting curve that they have sometimes been criticised of is completely dismissed right-off-the-bat. Fierce pumping grooves move you and I mean they really move you. Not for one second are force-fed this 1-note djentstick garb at all - this is fresh, 2014, harmonic and interesting riffage that elated me. The Milton Cleans enter and it's not doubt what the influences have been on the band since 'The Meaning of I' but it comes off as the opposite of contrived. It is a mutated Cyclops growing and extra arm to generate more of itself. It is Voyager^2. All the hooks, all of the guitars (especially the playful phrasing of Scott Kay's first guitar solo to Simone Dow's diminished flurries) , the newly found presence of some slap articulations by Alex Canion to thicken the barrage of groove, and the punchy beats of the Dood take everything successful on the title track of their previous release including its more contemporary guitar tuning to make the perfect opener to this album. Terrific!

Breaking Down From the suggestions of an eponymous record title, to the insanely supported crowdfunding campaign, there was a great deal of mystique around this release for me and I couldn't wait to get my first taste of the album. As a funder of the record, I was rewarded with an early taste of this track and to my surprise, I was worried. I did not like this song on first listen, or second, or fifteenth. I thought it may become more entertaining after pondering how funny it may be to count how many times the song could say the words "breaking down". It wasn't and I lost track at over 100, I'm sure. This song is just derivative and lacking substance and I felt as though it was so conventional and simple that it almost felt like the band thought they'd see how little they could put into a song and still have the fans like it. I know this is definitely not the case but it made me feel like Voyager thought I was stupid. This may seem overtly harsh and it's not meant to come across that way, it's simply my reaction and this is coming from a guy who can enjoy Katy Perry, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. I am not allergic to well constructed and simple pop but this has just deserved a permanent skip from me when listening to the album and without it, I'd probably have given this album very close to a perfect 10 out of 10. Most certainly not a worthy addition to the album to my ears.

A Beautiful Mistake Dirty, gritty, PHAT bass and drums open the track like a hammer on amphetamines, immediate transcendence as a Devyesque lydian riff takes us soaring to the heavens. Somehow this song blends this sonorous, otherworldly quality with its lush keyboard pads against a four-to-the-floor Tommy Lee beats for a perfectly progressive piece of metal. Bonus Devy points to the lovely female vocalist ?emyna Kuliukas at the end of the track which washes into blissful sirendom to lead us into what I call a "Danny Song".

Fortune Favours the Blind From as early as I heard 'Without a Sigh', I adored these interlude pieces that Voyager throw in to keep the dynamic curve of their art refreshing. The synthscape, the tribal drumming and the beautiful vocals channel Simon LeBon at his creative highpoints in Arcadia. With thematic links this is the 'V' equivalent of the 'Feuer Meiner Zeit' - 'Fire of the Times' 1-2 sucker punch; however far more engaging.

You, the Shallow Everything about this song from its bounce to it's great riffs, powerful vocals which are stretching Estrin to new extremes. The atmospherics builds before the solos, the half-time head nodders, the leads themselves - this is perfection territory and down to that little moment where the bass and guitars do a little unison lick under the solo where the kicks follow and where some of the guitar hits are high-passed heavily; it's these moments of fairydust that get me smiling. Well executed magic. The vocal melody at 1:56 is melancholic and shows a desperate malfeasance that I don't think I have heard from Daniel in the past even at emotional peaks like in 'The Pensive Disarray'.

Embrace the Limitless Lofty and floaty, like strolling through and alien garden - this is Voyager's uniqueness here. With sweeping arpeggios that feature again to punctuate the fat guitar syncopations of the song's chorus, it's pretty much everything I love about Voyager in a song. The harmonic structures and rhythmic figures are so much more interesting than what the band has experimented with previously. This is a fine balance of everything that is nice in modern progressive music. The vocals are spectacular and Estrin pushing himself to his limits and showcasing a beautiful falsetto that hasn't been heard in the same function on past efforts. The octaved vocals in the outro tag serve only to exemplify the serenity that the band are able to achieve in their compositions further. One of my favourites on the album.

Orpheus Once again, interesting keyboard players and a very driving beat by Ashley Doodkorte, makes this probably one of the most progressive tracks and one of the only tracks that alludes to the neoclassicism of much of the band's first two albums. Delightful arppegiators pepper the song with momentum and sheen. Thankfully, Alex Canion's vocals are not mixed into the background like with the last record, which I always felt to be a crying shame. He has a terrific voice and is emotive to the core - one would only be brought to such a state of catharsis from his performance on cult-band Noctis where he shows many of the sides that he brings as a musician and vocalist; a truly inspiring Australian musician.

The Domination Game This song channels Symphony X vibes for me with its busy, techy riffs and this is fused with an earworm chorus and some great compositional devices in the form of sweet drum hits before the choruses. From the pen of Grand Canion, we are given a tremendous breakdown at 2:40 and a flawless vocal departure and we are left pensively in disarray over spiritual eeriness. The solo is a subtle duet between Kay and Dow with the latter providing tasty lickage to conclude the section. This will be a live favourite, of that I'm sure.

Peacekeeper This is really more of an alternative rock song with a bit of a harder edge and once again we are visited by Estrin's glorious, impassioned vocals. This is a pretty straight forward song and should have been duplicated to replace 'Breaking Down' (ok, I've said enough on that). The vocal adlibs that conclude this piece are also something I haven't heard from the band before - very touching.

It's a Wonder I am reminded of what Norther or Children or Bodom would perhaps sound like if they were born inside a pyramid stone. The opening riff is exceedingly awesome, the rest of the song is strong but not a favourite of mine. The riff at 2:45 is some solid stuff though and there is a zaniness akin to bands such as Leprous.

The Morning Light Normally I would not be such a fan of rerecordings appearing in the middle of an album as it ruins the flow of a new presentation, but I have been one of those pesky fans that has been enthralled by this song in its live state and always wanted it with the new Voyager production. This is the world's greatest and most likely unintentional homage to the Terminator theme. It is what you'd expect and hope it to be - a rad remake of a song that you love. "I break the ice and time stands stills" - this section of the song has almost been a lump of dairy curd to me though and no remake will change that for me. I really loved hearing this and I am happy the keyboards retained their dominance.

Summer Always Comes Tearjerking... literally. This track had sombre tears running down my face on the first listen with that glorious wide piano sound, heart wrenching vocals, and a climactic build which makes me feel lost like I were the protagonist of the most important story told. Not a semblance of me was underwhelmed by this piece. Beautiful darkness through light. The segue on that suspended chord works a treat into Seasons of Age.

Seasons of Age A brilliant finish to this record - with some of the most chordally adventurous sounds that band have put to tape. Brilliant guitar leads, monolithic end riffage and tribal drumming that will wow you not because of the technical prowess, but simply because of how the total package makes you feel. Somehow the month of October will always belong to Peter Steele now and the Transylvanian inflections employed by Estrin suggest that it does for him and the band too.

Production The production on the album is crisp, powerful and punchy but there is always a risk when you go the whole hog and get Jens Bogren to produce one of your records. Everything should sound like a downgrade in comparison and expectedly this is. Whilst the only flaw of the 'Meaning of I' to me was that the mastering was a little too loud for headphone listening at full enjoyment, this albums remedies this slightly with most tracks sitting at DR6 and DR7 yet the overall sound is still not as refined with a bit of lost definition in the drum overheads, grainer and sometimes lazier gating on the guitars between syncopated sections (especially apparent on Hyperventilating). One thing I would like to hear from Voyager is a bit more of a saturated guitar sound to carry some of the leads a little further especially in the tapping sections. The hyper-produced vocals are a trademark of Voyager's sound and I love. The attention to detail with delays and effected layering is what I've come to expect - world class. There is a weird hype at 3-5kHz too which I would have brought down to smooth the albums sound and reduce fatigue for repeated listens.

Overall 'V' is in every way the eponymous self-defining album Voyager needed to make with a few flaws to my ears. I would say it's the band's most progressive release to date and probably the most well rounded but let down by 'Breaking Down' for me and a little bit by the impossibility of competing with Jens' production on the last record. The songwriting and performance as a whole is breathtaking and this will be sitting high on my albums of the year for 2014. I am Voyager and I give this a 9.25/10.

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  • Khabarov
  • DippoMagoo
  • sauromat

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